Community Altar for February 2018

February 25, 2018 | Filed Under Community Altar | No Comments

This month’s Community Altar is my Sigyn altar, rather than the standalone altar I usually create. I had some ideas about what to do this month, but wasn’t pleased with any of them. The resulting disarray on the Community Altar was indicative not only of the state of external situation of the community and world, but also an accurate reflection of my own inner chaos, and no one who isn’t me needs to deal with that. So, as I often do in difficult times, I turned to Sigyn, who has been a strong presence for me this month as I have dealt with grief and depression.

Sigyn is mentioned only a few times in the myths, and aside from her name and her marriage to Loki, we know little about her. She and Loki had two sons, Narvi and Vali, who were cruelly treated by Odin in revenge for Baldr’s death. Odin turns Vali into a wolf, who kills Narvi, as Sigyn and Loki are forced to watch. Loki is then bound in the cave, held to the rocks with the intestines of his dead son. Skadi nails a snake to the roof of the cave, which drips venom on Loki’s head. Sigyn stands guard over Loki, holding a wooden bowl to catch the poison, trying to shield him. She leaves only to empty the bowl when it fills, and returns quickly, to minimize the time he is exposed to the poison. Eventually, Loki breaks free of his bonds and escapes.

The myths do not say what became of Sigyn. UPG varies widely. Sometimes I have the sense that she is with Laufey on her leafy isle, recovering from her trials and helping others to heal from their own losses. Both are strong women, powerful women, and the idea of them working together as healers and counselors feels right to me.

Sigyn Altar

Sigyn Altar

The centerpiece of the altar is a beat up, scratched, scarred wooden bowl with a leaf pattern carved into the edge. It’s filled with a few red glass stones representing the poison, and many clear glass stones representing the water she uses to rinse the bowl. This reminds me that, whatever I am suffering, life holds more love than pain, even if it does not feel that way at this particular moment.

The four candles represent Sigyn, Loki, Narvi, and Vali. The angel figure on the right holds a dove, protecting it. The Guardian Angel candle on the left is identical to a small painting which hung over my bed when I was a child, with the angel guiding two lost children to the safety of home. There’s a sterling silver rose filled with rose petal potpourri for sweetness, four sprigs of lavender from my garden for peace and calm, and four mourning dove feathers left in my back yard by the birds who visit our feeders.

Many small and varied stones are scattered across the altar, including a rose quartz heart for love and healing. The glass bottle contains water (and is sealed with a cork, because Dust Happens). The scrying piece in the center is actually a piece of Mdina Glass I acquired in Malta, and with the four candles casting light into it, is wonderful to view with. I made the clay stand which holds it.

The butterfly wind chime serves as a focus for me; I ring the bells at the beginning of my work with her. Butterflies (for me) symbolize the soul, and the new life that awaits the caterpillar going through its dark time of being unmade and remade.

The flowers are refreshed every week; the type and color depend entirely on what’s available at the flower market.

The altar cloth is a piece I embroidered.

As the Mourning Mother, Sigyn understands your pain when you grieve. She understands your rage at the unfairness of life, and she understands your desire to strike back, and your impotent fury that there is no real way to do so. Sigyn reminds you to feel your pain, to weep your tears, to let your heart break fully so that you can begin to heal. Allow yourself to feel the grief, to mourn the loss, to weep and wail and keen. Suppressed grief is dangerous, eating at the heart and soul, darkening your spirit for the remainder of your years. Mourn, bless, and release; the release includes not only releasing the pain once you have acknowledged it, but also releasing yourself from the cave to rejoin life after the period of mourning, and to live fully each day.

As the Lady of Victory, Sigyn reminds you to persevere, to persist, to keep going. No matter how dark the cave, no matter how many times the bowl fills and must be emptied, no matter how many times you want to cry or scream or collapse in frustration, Sigyn reminds you that you can do this. Whatever it is, you can make it through the darkness, and emerge from the cave victorious, ready to once again be part of your family and community, to live and thrive and create a full, rich life.

May Sigyn bring you comfort in your pain, and help you move through your grief so that you can return to the world at peace with your loss, stronger in heart and soul, and ready to reconnect with your life and your purpose.


A New Item for Loki’s Altar

February 13, 2018 | Filed Under Altars | No Comments

Because, if there’s anything He likes, it’s a new toy!


Yes, that is an authentic Marvel “Thor: Ragnarok” Hot Wheels Loki car in the corner of the altar!

The helmet isn’t detachable, but that’s probably for the best—I’d end up removing it and putting it back, over and over, giggling madly, instead of, you know, meditating or something.

The full altar, which is shared with The Nornir, Vor, Mordgud, Heimdall, and Sleipnir:


Small Devotions: Starting the Day

February 12, 2018 | Filed Under Devotions | No Comments

I am not a morning person. There is no way to adequately describe how much I am not a morning person. I just don’t function well in the morning, regardless of how much sleep I’ve had, no matter how well I slept. Morning is confusing and strange and I would really prefer to opt out of it. However, as I have a day job which requires me to be available to clients during business hours, morning is something I must deal with, and attempt to do so with a modicum of grace, and a minimum of grumbling.

Most days, I do not have to set an alarm; I can trust that I am going to wake up when I need to, within a ten minute range, plus or minus. On mornings when I must be up at a specific time, I set two alarms. If I have to be up at, say, 7:30, I set a gentle sound (the Harp ringtone in iPhone—I’ve repurposed my old phone as my bedside alarm clock and jukebox) for 7:15, and then a more insistent ringtone at 7:30. I use Bell Tower for the second, because while it’s difficult to ignore, but it’s not unpleasant or startling.

Setting two alarms gives my brain time to process the idea that it’s time to get up. That may sound strange to people who bounce out of bed like solar-powered bunnies, but it takes me a while to get from the concept to the reality. The first alarm gently notifies my brain that the day will begin shortly, so that, by the time the second alarm goes off, I’m not completely confused as to why my alarm is going off.

The first ten minutes of the day are the most difficult. There are complicated things, like trying to figure out where the floor is, how my feet work so I can walk to my closet, and how to put on my bathrobe and slippers. (I told you—I really am not a morning person.) I meander around a bit, and drink a full glass of water. The oxygen and hydration help shake my body loose from sleep, and after five or ten minutes, my brain has finally caught up with my body, and I am able to get on with things.

I have this posted on the wall of my bedroom:


The photo is one I took when visiting Dingle, County Kerry, Ireland, so it calls to mind pleasant memories, which is a good start to the day.

I breathe in, raise my arms, and recite the verse. This helps me remember that I have a variety of energies available to me as I move through my day, and that I can draw on those energies as needed.

I’m still not necessarily happy about being awake, but I feel better about the fact that I am awake, and it does set a positive tone for the day. And some days need all the help they can get in this regard.

I hope this inspires you to find a way to make the first minutes of your day more pleasant!


Small Devotions

February 11, 2018 | Filed Under Devotions | No Comments

I apologize for the long silence. I thought I was doing alright, or at least well enough, but I’ve found that actually, I am experiencing profound grief after my grandmother’s death. It’s been many years since someone so close to me has died, and I had forgotten how deeply it affects me. In this instance, I think the effect is even more pronounced, because she was the family matriarch, and there’s no one to fill that role now. That shift also carries an irrevocable farewell to childhood; no matter how old you are, if you have a grandparent, some part of you is still their grandchild, and that provides a certain comfort and sense of safety that is suddenly gone when your grandparent dies.

So, that’s what I’ve been wrestling with, and it has affected most areas of my life: day job, my writing, home care, family responsibilities, and my spiritual practice. The others I (mostly) have work-arounds to manage while I sort myself out, but there’s no work-around to spiritual practice. One is doing one’s devotions, or one is not.

On an ideal day, I have an hour to spend in contemplation. (Not all of my days are ideal. Yet.) Most days this year have been significantly less than ideal so far, and so my time for devotion has varied from nearly zero on too many days, to an actual hour on a few days.

I know I’m not the only one who experiences this challenge. The best laid plans of mice and meditators, and all that.

I realized that, even though I’m not regularly sitting down at my altars, I do have a practice of small actions throughout the day that has been helping to keep me anchored, even though I haven’t considered it much before this weekend. These are small moments and small actions that are touchpoints throughout my day, which arose gradually and without a lot of planning or intent on my part, and which serve as reminders to stop and take a minute to get out of my head and restore some perspective to the day.

Since I’m not the only one who faces the issue of work/life/devotions balance, I will be sharing these small devotions ideas on my blog.They’ll be posted with the category tag “Devotions”, so they’ll be easy to find. I hope they are helpful, and inspire you to find ways to create thoughtful and focusing moments in your day as well.


Daily Poem: He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven ~ William Butler Yeats

January 25, 2018 | Filed Under Poem for Hela | No Comments

He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven
~William Butler Yeats

Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,

Enwrought with golden and silver light,

The blue and the dim and the dark cloths

Of night and light and the half light,

I would spread the cloths under your feet:

But I, being poor, have only my dreams;

I have spread my dreams under your feet;

Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.


Instead of a photo, today’s poem has a video, featuring the poem read by none other than Tom Hiddleston. Amusingly enough, someone set the voice track against footage from the first “Thor” film, which doesn’t really fit with it, but it’s the only recording I could find. I recommend headphones for this one. Enjoy!


Recent Posts:



Follow AnastasiaH_SF on Twitter
My Pinterest
Follow Me on Instagram
Subscribe to RSS